October 7, 2010
The book Orchid of the Bayou was eye opening. Cathryn (Kitty) Hoffpauir Fischer did a good job of being honest, which really allowed the reader to get a better understanding of what being deaf in this time period meant. Her writing really allowed me to see the different struggles that deaf children had to face, and how these struggles were overcome by Kitty. This book taught me many things about Deaf culture.
First, this book allowed me to see the negative way in which deaf people were perceived. This book is not old by any means, and I was taken aback by the way deaf children were perceived by not only others in the community, but often times by their own parents as well. The term “Deaf and Dumb” is one that I had never heard before, yet one that was used far too often. It is appalling to think that this was used for all deaf people, by not only a few of the more ignorant people who did not understand, but by doctors, teachers, and even the parents of deaf children. This term is offensive and just plain wrong. It is very apparent to me that deaf people are well educated and that their inability to hear has no affect on their ability to learn. Before reading this book I would have never guessed that so many people thought differently not so long ago.
Next, after reading this book I saw how common it was for deaf children to receive little to no schooling when Kitty was younger. Her aunt “stumbled” upon a school for the deaf, and had this never happened Kitty probably would have never attended a school at all. This seemed to be a very common thing. Parents of deaf children were told that their child was “deaf and dumb”. If their child was dumb and they already knew it then why send them to school anyway when it wouldn’t do any good? This train of thought is ridiculous, but something that happened a lot. The idea of a child staying home and remaining uneducated is absurd. Schools for the deaf were not very...